Thursday, January 27, 2011


I'm frustrated.  
Successfully accomplishing one goal 
only leads me to set another.  
Oh, my.  
I don't even know where to begin with this one.  

More on this later... if I can get a game plan.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Mrs. Oklahoma City

David and I enjoyed a unique date last night.  We went to the Mrs. Oklahoma and Mrs. Kansas Pageant. My dear friend, Emily, was competing for the title of Mrs. Oklahoma so we wanted to show our support by attending.  She was absolutely beautiful and did a fantastic job in her first pageant.  Emily didn't win the crown last night, but she enjoyed the journey and may do it next year.  

Me with Mrs. Oklahoma City, Emily  

I'd like to give a special shout-out to Mrs. Melinda Meadows (Mrs. Edmond).  She's the mother of one of my HS classmates.  She also competed in Mrs. Oklahoma 2011 last night.  Melinda is a woman that has it all... personality, beauty, kindness, grace, style, elegance, and a freakin' 6-pack!  She was the third runner-up in the pageant and received six additional awards.  What an inspiration!  I may have to see if she'd like to share her beauty and fitness secrets with me.  She is amazing!  I hope she continues to compete in pageants.

After the pageant, David and I had a late dinner at Hefner Grill over by Lake Hefner.  Everything he ordered was great, but I wasn't impressed with my food.  I don't think we'll ever eat there again.  
Even though I didn't care for the restaurant, it's always good to try new places.  It was a fun evening because I spent it with David and some friends.  ; )

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Productive Snow Day

It has been a decently productive day.  David and I sat around in our pajamas and enjoyed several cups of coffee for a few hours.  It was so relaxing!  When we worked up an appetite, I baked one of my wonderful crustless quiche for breakfast.  Today's quiche consisted of eggs, oven roasted deli turkey, fresh spinach (much better than frozen), and cheddar cheese.  It was absolutely delicious!  I ended up eating more quiche for lunch.

I created several PowerPoints for my classroom so we can learn new songs for Valentine's Day.  My "honor choir" or classes will be learning them to present in our weekly assemblies. It's going to be fun learning them together. 

I was able to see the doctor today. I'm pretty sure her measurements classify me as an Amazon Woman.  For real!  My weight was a couple pounds higher and she measured my height at 5' 9 1/2". That's HUGE!  It's funny how measurements vary so much from doctor to doctor.  Amazon Woman or not, my blood pressure was amazing, along with my pulse, and all that other stuff. This is a direct result of my health obsession.  My nutritional eating and exercise is paying off! ; )

My new PCP diagnosed me with a chronic sinus infection and bilateral conjunctivitis (pink eye/eye infection in BOTH eyes).  While I was there, she gave me a flu shot and my tetanus shot.  I left her clinic with lab requests (darn hyperparathyroidism history!), 3 prescriptions, instructions to purchase a few OTC items, and a dermatology referral (stinkin' parathyroid scar never healed).

I didn't get any sugar cookies baked today.  The event that I was baking them for ended up being rescheduled to a later date.  I'm not even sure if I'll be able to go now.  We'll see.  Maybe I'll bake a batch of sugar cookies this weekend and have some fun with new designs.  I should probably start experimenting with a few ideas. : )

We're having White Turkey Chili for dinner tonight.  It's been simmering on the stove for a while now.  This has become one of our favorite meals and we're getting excited that it's almost dinner time.  Mmm...  I think I'll be taking leftovers to work tomorrow.  

That sums up our day for now.  It's crazy to think how busy an unexpected day off from work can actually be.  I think I'll use the weekend to recover.  It's going to be a great weekend for sure!

Happy Thursday!  Stay warm and safe!

Blessing in Disguise

I woke up at 5:30am today thinking that I'd prepare for school as normal.  Luckily, some dear friends of mine made a post on my facebook wall to inform me that my school district had canceled school for the day due to icy roads.  I saw this on my phone before I started getting ready for the day.  THANK YOU to all who were looking out for me.  = )  

This snow day is truly a blessing in disguise.  I REALLY need to go to the doctor, but wasn't going to take a sick day to do that.  I have far too much going on at school right now and I absolutely hate to miss, especially without advance notice. So, I'll be calling a new doc when their clinic opens at 9am and hopefully they'll be able to squeeze me in this afternoon. I'm not getting out on these dangerously icy roads this morning.  Safety first!

My "snow day" will be filled with coffee, blankets, hot yummy food, baking cookies, watching movies, creating PowerPoints, and going to a new doctor. I may need a day off after today. jk ; )

Monday, January 17, 2011

Getting My Stride Back

Today I met up with my SIL, April, for a nice afternoon run. The weather was perfect!

5 miles in 1 hour = 12 minute miles

Goal: 13.1 at a 9 minute mile pace
I hope to finish my second half-marathon in less than 2 hours.  That's a pretty big goal for me, so we'll see.

"Slow and steady wins the race!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Day In The Kitchen

The average person would probably be tired of being in the kitchen after baking and decorating over 6 dozen cookies. It's a good thing I'm not average.  ; )
I prepared some yummy food for me and the hubster today. Here's what I made and/or ate...

Multigrain Banana Nut Pancakes
  • Whoa!  These were good. I used Trader Joe's multigrain pancake and baking mix. I halved the recipe on the box and used unsweetened soy milk instead of regular milk. I also added an entire mashed banana and chopped pecans. Mmm...
  • David absolutely loved eating these with a cup of fresh coffee while chillin' in his pajamas. We LOVE lazy days

On Your Own
  • We munched. David had baby carrots and some other stuff. I munched on LF string cheese, raisins, and raw almonds.  

Garlic, Herb, & Wine Baked Chicken
  • I marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a seasoning packet by McCormick and then baked it this evening. So tasty!
Roasted Carrots
  • I took whole carrots, scrubbed them well, cut off the ends, and placed them in a corningware baking dish with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. I baked them at 375 for 30 minutes then turned the carrots, topped with a bit more olive oil, salt, and pepper.  They baked for another 30 minutes. I made them once before (recently too!) and David loved them so he actually requested them while we were at Sams today. We purchased a 5lb bag of carrots for 2.98.  Awesome!
  • I experimented by making glazed carrots too. I scrubbed and cut off the ends of the carrots and then cut them in bite-sized pieces.  They were placed in another corningware dish along with 1Tbsp (all I had open at the time) and a nice sprinkling of brown sugar. The carrots were baked for 30 minutes at 375. When the timer went off, I pulled them out, gave them a good stir, and baked them for another 30. I was worried they'd be too sweet, but it only provided a very thin glaze. These were really good and similar to the glazed carrots that Red Rock Canyon Grill serves (but I bet mine were healthier). I'll be making these again.  
Cracker Barrel Limited Edition Cheese
  • This cheese is out of this world amazing. For real. Cheese is expensive, but I can't live without it. It's honestly one of my favorite foods. I was at Walmart the other day and saw they had this cheese marked down to 1.98. I bought one to try and ended up going back to purchase four more. Like I said... it's out of this world (and currently affordable!).  
  • I finally made it to an OKC Aldi the other day. My first Aldi experience was in St. Louis. Times were tough and ALDI helped us survive.  Whew...  Anyways, I became a huge fan of many of their products. Unfortunately, Aldi isn't as convenient or close to me as the one in STL so I won't be going there every time I go grocery shopping. Some of the products I love from Aldi are their OLIVES. I don't know what it is, but they have THE BEST BLACK OLIVES! I purchased some from Walmart and ended up throwing them out. A co-worker of mine agreed and informed me that she purchased a name brand can of olives at a local grocery and ended up throwing them out. I'm tellin' ya, ALDI's OLIVES ARE BEST!  I also love their Spanish olives, refried beans, canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned veggies, turkey ham, guacamole (just like Wholly Guacamole, but much cheaper), and their frozen turkey meatballs.  Oh Aldi, I have missed you!!! My pocketbook has also missed you. I promise to not wait so long before visiting you again.  
Oatmeal Cake
  • I was obviously having baking withdrawal. I told you I wasn't normal.  = )  This recipe came from my Grandmother and it's incredible. It's the perfect winter dessert. The cake itself calls for 1 cup brown sugar AND 1 cup white sugar. I experimented and replaced the 1 cup white sugar with 1 cup Splenda for baking. The cake still turned out wonderful. It's topped with buttery coconut brown sugar goodness. I cut the cake into small servings, but David still had 3 pieces. How funny is that?! The man LOVES sweets.I keep telling him that he's sweet enough already.  ; ) 

That's our day in a nutshell. We'll be eating leftovers for the next couple of days. That gives me time to decide what I want to do with the turkey ham that's in the fridge and the pie crust. Hmmm...  Decisions, decisions.  

Cookie Compositions

 A sweet friend commissioned me to bake these cupcake cookies cookies for her granddaughter's first birthday party.
 Cookie art is a step-by-step process that 
requires a great amount of patience.  

In the above photo, I iced the bottom "cupcake liner" with white and added pink dots 
while the white icing was still wet.  It dried as one smooth palette.  
Once that dried completely, I added the white lines  on the cupcake liner.   
I colored the royal icing by using the neon gel food coloring.  The colors turned out beautifully.   I'll definitely be using the gel food coloring again. 
I used Wilton's #3 tips, plastic couplers, along with their 12in. disposable bags.  
Clean up is a breeze!

Finished piping, now drying

In the above photo, I piped on the pink swirls last. 
 They dried raised because the rest of the cookie dried overnight.

I topped each cookie with a cherry flavored M&M that I had purchased at Christmas.  I just knew I'd find something fun to do with them.

 The finished product... Pink Cupcake Cookies!

 I added a bit of glam to the green cookies 
with a few edible pearl sprinkles.

These cookies were almost as big as my hand. 

"Ta da.....  "

My first order was for 2 dozen cupcake cookies and 1 dozen round cookies iced with pink and polka dots.  

I have a few extra cupcake cookies.  One was enjoyed by my in-laws last night, another will be shipped by my Grandmother on Tuesday, and I'm sure David will probably be happy to take care of the other three unless I manage to find a home for them.  With the remaining cookie dough, I baked small heart cookies and quickly topped them with icing.  
We were in a hurry to leave the house so I could purchase another pair of Uggs to run an errand.  
= )

If you're interested in learning more about cookie decorating, please visit SWEETOPIA.  She has many tutorials and step-by-step posts that explain everything.  Her site has helped me tremendously.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nutrition Crash Course

Common Question:  
"I'm starting my adventure into becoming a healthier person. Calorie counting, more exercising, and drinking more water are all on the agenda.I need low calorie (but still tasty) snacks.  Any suggestions?"

My Answer: 
First of all, I don't count calories.  I choose foods of high nutritional value.  Things I eat most are lean meats (eggs, lowfat cheeses, 2% cottage cheese, boneless/skinless chicken breast, sirloin steak, 90/10 or less fat ground turkey or beef, pork chops, fish, etc) and non-starchy veggies (green beans, carrots, cucumber, zucchini/squash, artichoke, cabbage, etc).  My favorite fats are avocado, olives, and nuts (peanut butter too!).  I also enjoy protein shakes and protein bars (Pure Protein and Power Crunch are my favorite and can be purchased at Walmart) that are low in sugar.  I do occasionally eat fresh fruit, but only in small amounts and in the morning (usually only when I'm running a lot).  Processed sugar and carbs are my enemies!!!  
Snacks that I enjoy are the lil' packs of cocoa roasted almonds or other nuts and 2% lowfat string cheese.  
Have you ever tried the light laughing cow cheeses?  They are amazing!  I love them with fresh celery and other veggies.  Honestly, protein is the only thing that satisfies me in small amounts.  If I waited for "snack foods" to fill me, I'd be a bottomless pit and it would never happen.
I dieted for years and years by eating salad, rice cakes, and drinking diet soda (even limiting to 500 calories a day most days).  I was hungry all the time and ended up binging in the evenings and on weekends.  It never ever worked.  My current eating habits are something that I've been living with for 2 years.  It is a healthy lifestyle... along with lots of H20 and lots of exercise.  Having a lifestyle of natural, unprocessed foods has helped me more than any "fad" diets or pills I used for most of my life.  
That's just what I've learned and has helped me lose 100+ pounds.  

**My nutrition plan may not work for everybody and I'm okay with that. ; ) I have been very successful with my plan and think it is too good not to share.  

Here is another way I view my nutritional lifestyle:
I sometimes think about Cavemen.  I really doubt they struggled with being overweight.  They didn't have processed foods or much variety.  Cavemen ate meat, berries, nuts, and seeds (which they hunted and gathered themselves!).  It was a life of simplicity.  That's how I strive to eat in a world full of temptation.**  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A "Cheesy" Dessert

My dear friend, Amanda, introduced me to the Mocha Ricotta.  I read all about it on her blog yesterday.  Last night I made a small, experimental portion.  It was a hit!  
I've enjoyed ricotta with protein powder plenty of times, but never thought about cocoa powder.  When I use the cocoa powder, I'm missing out on added protein (extra calories and fat too), but it's much lighter on the tummy.  Protein powder is really filling... and that's not always a good thing.
So, here's my version of the cheesy dessert.....

Ricotta cheese (part-skim)
SF vanilla Torani
Hershey's special dark cocoa powder
A few raw almonds
A few semi-sweet choco chips (an optional naughty-naughty)

Add first 3 ingredients in a small bowl and stir very well.
Sprinkle on toppings
Other Optional Toppings:
Fresh berries
Unsweetened coconut flakes
A dollop of natural peanut butter
Banana slices
SF Caramel topping
SF Jam/Jelly/Preserves
Give this cheesy dessert a whirl and let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear about your Mocha Ricotta creation!
Also, feel free to follow Amanda's "Better Me Up" journey by becoming a FOLLOWER of her blog... and don't forget to click "FOLLOW" on my blog too!  = )

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

13.1: Game Time

That's right!  My half-marathon training has officially begun.  I have been increasing my frequency of running, mileage, and other cardio workouts.  I'm crazy excited to be part of this amazing event and journey again.  Running in the OKC Memorial Marathon was one of the greatest moments of my life.  I am forever changed by that experience.  

I plan on meeting up with Oklahoma LandRunners this Saturday morning for a long run.  They're starting training for full marathon participants and will be running 6 miles.  Now, I'm only running the half, but this group is so fantastic that they actually accept runner/walkers/half-ers/etc.  I hope I can do as much as last weekend which will be a minimum of 3 miles.  I'd really love to run 4 miles (maybe a little more), but that'll depend how I'm feeling and the weather.  Listening to your body is so important.  Pushing too hard, too fast, can easily result in injury.  I'm pretty positive that's how I ended up with a knee injury 2 practice runs before I ran the half-marathon last April.  I hope I can be even safer and smarter about it this time around.

* 13.1 * 

I'd still like to run the full marathon, but I can't imagine finding the time and energy to train for all that while working a full-time job.  Seriously!  How do people do it?  
Please let me in on all the secrets if you have any.

Hope y'all have a Happy Wednesday!!!

Residency Interviews: CHECK!

David's last residency interview was in Houston today.  YAY!!! He's only been on a couple of interviews there, but it seems like more for some reason.  Funny how that works!  

Tomorrow he takes the CS2 (Step 2: Clinical Skills... $1,000 for the exam plus we pay all travel expenses.) in Houston.  If I remember correctly, there are only 5 places in the entire world where you can take that exam.  Houston was obviously the best choice since he's been staying in OKC lately.  The other closest option would have been Chicago.  He would have loved that, but I would have been really jealous.  I do enjoy Chi-Town!  All of the other places are much, much farther away.
CS2 is the second part of step 2.  The first part is a written exam and he completed it this summer (It was only $500).  CS2 uses standardized patients aka actors (properly trained for this stuff) and he has to go through all sorts of "doctor procedures" with them.  He had to take his white coat and everything.  David is brilliant and has great bedside manners, so I am completely confident he'll be AWESOME.  I, on the other hand, hate exams.  Ugh.

I had great intentions of keeping track of all the expenses along the residency interview trail, but it became too much work with my job.  I'll be going through all of our credit card statements soon to create a spreadsheet in attempt to figure about how much this ended up costing us.  Sadly, we won't be paying back exactly what we borrowed, but a whole lot more because that interest really adds up.  Whew!  I can't dwell on that one or I'll end up in the funny farm.  Trying to keep it positive here!  ; )

David will arrive back to OKC tomorrow evening and he'll be here for a while before having to leave for STL again.  I'm dreading that time.  Man, this post is starting to get me down.  I guess that's a sign to call it quits for the night.  I'm just sooooo thankful WE are able to CHECK 2 MORE THINGS OFF THE LIST!!!  We are major excited about graduation... which is MAY 19, 2011!  

That's right, my husband will graduate medical school on May 19.  Let me know if you're interested in attending.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back To School

The Holidays are over.  I started back to school today.  We went over music classroom procedures and expectations all over again just like we did on the first day of school.  I think I'll find that it was time well spent.  After that review, I went over different things with my classes.  It was a great day!  I loved seeing everybody's smiling faces.  Elementary kids really are the most fun.  LOVE it!  

As wonderful as the day was, I'm already craving the weekend.  Mostly because I never adjusted back to a normal sleep schedule after the Holidays.  Tomorrow is going to be rough.  Whew.  

Hope y'all have a fantastic week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting Off Right

The first day of 2011 included a cardio workout at the gym.  I was supposed to go for a run with my SIL, but we both had an excitement hangover from NYE.  We decided to skip out on the morning run today.  

I lounged at home in my pajamas and drank coffee for a few hours which was really nice.  David and I just relaxed and enjoyed the last bit of our break together.  We ate some leftovers from our NYE shindig.  It was all so yummy!  After a while we went to the gym for a workout.  He mostly did strength training and I did cardio on the elliptical.  It felt great!  I forget how much I love that machine.  Hopefully I'll have my own someday.  

The year is off to a great start as far as exercise goes, but we need to work on our food.  I know once all the leftovers are gone, we'll do much better.  At least there aren't any sweets here.  Whew!  
I'll have to post recipes soon so you'll know what I'm talking about.  I've been making some delicious goods.  Mmm...

Oh, and I must mention that OU won the bowl game.  I told you this was going to be the best year.  BOOMER SOONER!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Creations

This Christmas I created a little more than I have for the past three years.  You see, David and I spent the previous three years in St. Louis, MO and I haven't been able to contribute a whole lot to our family Christmas dinners since I had to travel 8 hours.  We are finally back in OKC and I enjoyed being able to contribute again this Christmas.  

I took care of our ENTIRE Christmas Eve meal this year and had an absolute blast!  Here are a couple of lists of the things I made.

Christmas Eve:
Turkey Noodle Soup:  Made from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey, including the stock.  
Rolls:  Completely from scratch
Pecan Pie:  I used pre-made crust, but everything else was from scratch.  The pecans came from Nifty Nut House in Wichita, KS.
Pumpkin Pie: I used pre-made crust and canned pumpkin
Sweet Potato Pie X 2 (one was a gift for a bro in-law) :  I used pre-made crust, but everything else was from scratch.  I even boiled my own sweet potatoes for this one.  It was phenomenal!
Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Christmas Day:
Marinated Veggie Salad:  made with Splenda
Rolls:  Completely from scratch
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
Molasses Cookies:  My Christmas FAVORITE!
Sugar Cookies: All individually decorated by hand
Protein Bars
Protein Fudge
Layered Ribbon Birthday Cake for Jesus
Pecan Pie: Yes, I made two.  One for Christmas Even and one for Christmas Day.  = )

In case you're wondering, we DID eat REAL FOOD on Christmas Day.  We enjoyed turkey, ham, AND smoked ribs.  The ribs were to-die-for!  There were also mashed potatoes, green bean wraps, dressing, cheesy mashed potatoes, and more.  It truly was a feast.

In addition to all that, I made David a delicious breakfast of multigrain pancakes and spinach bacon quiche on the morning of Christmas Eve.  He really enjoyed it!  

I feel that I need to make a little comment to explain my obsession in the kitchen.  It's healthy to have hobbies.  Many of "healthy people" have music as a hobby.  I'm one of the luckiest gals in the world in that my hobby of music turned into a career for me.  I live and breathe music for a huge chunk of my day and wouldn't trade that for anything, but I also believe we can have more than one hobby.  I have many, many hobbies.
Cooking and baking has definitely turned into a hobby for me.  I'm glad my Grandma took the time and had the patience to teach me some things and let me experiment in her kitchen when I was a child.  I'm glad I payed attention during my home economics class in middle school.  And it's a good thing I have a family that enjoys to eat.  Creating culinary compositions in the kitchen is something that brings this musician so much joy.   


2011 Happenings

  • Match Day:  When we find out where we go for Residency
  • Jenn runs her 2nd half-marathon
  • David graduates from medical school 
  • Graduation Celebration in honor of the new M.D.
  • Vacation
  • Jenn continues working at the best school on earth 
  • Move... again
  • David begins Residency

Whew!  I think that's enough excitement for one year (of course, I may have a couple other things up my sleeve).  We are so excited to get this year started.  Let's do this!!!

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